Video poker games have a loyal bunch of players. The games they love best and play most have been around 20 years, 30 years or more.
Once Jacks or Better gave the game its big popularity boost at the beginning of the 1980s, it was quickly followed by Deuces Wild and Bonus Poker, with Double Bonus Poker and Double Double Bonus Poker not far behind.
That doesn’t mean players that now how to play video poker for years are unwilling to try something new. As by far the world’s leader in video poker games, International Game Technology introduces new games every year.
The coming attractions are mostly games with multiple hands and bonus multipliers. The multi-hand format was launched with Triple Play Poker, in which you start with one hand and after you decide what to hold, the deck is cloned and the draw played out three times. You could win on none, one, two or all three of the hands.
Since then we’ve seen Five Play, Ten Play, Fifty Play and Hundred Play Poker, with more cloned hands and potential winners.
Layered onto that in games such as Ultimate X and Super Times Pay are multipliers, where the potential value of the next hand is increased. The most successful of these is Ultimate X, and it’s only natural IGT would want to play off that success. It’s doing just that with Ultimate X Bonus Streak and Ultimate X Spin Poker.
ULTIMATE X BONUS STREAK
Ultimate X Bonus Streak is available in Triple Play, Five Play and Ten Play formats. Each has a 10-credit per hand maximum bet – five credits for basic play plus five credits to buy the bonus feature. If you’re playing in a 25-cent unit, the max bet on a Triple Play version of Ultimate X Bonus Streak is $7.50, and that rises to $12.50 on the five-hand version and $25 for Ten Play.
As in Ultimate X, winning hands can bring multipliers for subsequent hands. The multipliers apply only to the same line on which you had the winner. If you had losing hands on the bottom two hands of Triple Play Ultimate X but a winner on top, then only the top hand gets a multiplier on your next play.
The smallest-paying hands, Jacks or Better and two pairs, do not bring multipliers on Bonus Streak. That’s a change from original Ultimate X, where any winner earns a next-hand multiplier.
But there’s something extra in Bonus Streak, and this is the part players will love. You don’t just get a multiplier for the next hand. Instead of a one-hand-only multiplier, you get a streak of multipliers. On Jacks or Better, Double Double Bonus and other games with no wild cards, three of a kind, flushes and straights bring multipliers on the next three hands. If it’s a full house or better, you get a five-hand streak.
Not only that, the multiplier increases for each hand on the streak. When you have the maximum streak, multipliers are 2x, 3x, 4x, 8x and 12x – that is, payoffs on a winning hand are doubled on the next play, tripled on the one after and so on.
If you have a winner during the streak, it increases payoffs for the remainder of the streak to 12x. Losing hands still pay nothing – 12 times zero is still zero. But a pair of Jacks or Better could pay up to 60 coins instead of five. The ultimate coup would be a royal flush with a 12x multiplier – 48,000 coins instead of 4,000.
Bonus Streak, like original Ultimate X, is likely to have its biggest appeal at low coin denominations. You might not want to bet $25 to get Bonus Streak on Ten Play in 25-cent denominations, but it’s a different story with a 5-cent denomination and a $5 maximum bet. That way you can keep the wagers affordable and still have a chance at big wins when the 12x multipliers come up.
Ultimate X Spin Poker is just what it says. It puts the Ultimate X multipliers on a Spin Poker format, where the cards are on five spinning reels with nine paylines.
Each payline makes up a five-card hand. Since there are nine lines with a maximum bet of 10 credits per line, the total max bet is 90 credits -- $22.50 on a 25-cent game or $4.50 on a five-cent game.
The odds are the same as on other video poker games with the same pay tables. Double Double Bonus Poker is still Double Double Bonus Poker. It’s just that you wait till reels stop spinning to see where your cards land.
In Ultimate X Spin Poker, you also get a multiplier after any winning hand. If you get a pair of Jacks on payline No. 5, then any winner on payline No. 5 on the next play will be multiplied by two.
Away from the Ultimate X variations, another new game has an option that can create extra winners. And this one is even available in single-hand games as well as multi-hand formats.
FLIP AND PLAY POKER
With a Jack and two Queens as the starting hand, for example, the Jack would flip to reveal a third Queen. If you have a 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9, that 9 would flip down one rank and become an 8 to complete a straight. Players have the option of rejecting the flip if it gets in the way of a desired draw.
As in the Ultimate X variations, it takes an extra bet to activate the flip feature, but it creates so many great starting hands that Flip and Play is sure to find an enthusiastic niche.